Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Womentorz Contest w/ Amazing Prizes!!!

Follow These Five Easy Steps

   1. Important - Leave your name and a way to contact you below in a Comment

   2. Follow the Womentorz Blog to the right

   3. Like the Womentorz Facebook Fan Page:

   4. Suggest the Womentorz Fan Page to your friends - Document Date    

   5. Sign up for the Womentorz Newsletter at www.womentorz.com

List of Prizes

3 - $100 Gift Cards to Macy's

$50 Gift Card to Macy's

Ficklets Eyeglass Charm

Do you struggle to get your child to wear their eyeglasses? Kids think eyeglasses are geeky. Ficklets makes them Hip & Cool. Introducing Ficklets, the first interchangeable eyewear charm hugger, designed to adorn eyeglasses with a fun, fresh twist to help kids feel comfortable in their glasses and make the whole experience more enjoyable.

Papillon Baby Bath Ring

Turn your bathtub into a water wonderland!  The Papillon soft bath ring is exactly what your baby needs to play securely in the water while you wash him safely.  The Papillion‘s revolutionary butterfly shape prevents baby from tipping over in the tub. It lets baby “float” around the bathtub and reach for bath toys freely! Simply tie the Papillon around baby’s waist and let the fun begin!

Pouch Pals - 1 snack size and 1 sandwich size

We LOVE Pouch Pals!  How could you not love these reusable sandwich and snack pouches?  They save you from using hundreds of disposable plastic baggies in your kids' daily lunches over the course of the school year.  Pouch Pals are fun, safe and easy to clean.  Go to www.pouchpals.net to learn more and see how you can save money, save the environment and teach your children to do right by mother earth.

Grill CharmsTM

Grill CharmsTM offer an entirely new concept in outdoor entertaining.   They are dime-sized solid stainless steel charms that are placed in your food BEFORE grilling. The serrated stems hold them in securely while flipping, moving and grilling food like you normally do. Grill CharmTM  food prior to cooking to distinguish spices and flavors, steak temperatures, or to avoid health or allergy issues.

Esse Reusable Bags - CarryAll Tote
All Esse Reusable Bags are washable, made from high quality materials and are built to last! Our line includes a super strong flat bottom grocery bag that folds down to an 8" square, lightweight mesh produce bags that allow you to shop, wash and store your items all in one bag, and the Everyday Bag~ a large capacity shopper that rolls and folds into a 2" x 5" size making it the perfect bag to have with you at all times to eliminate hundreds of sneaky little plastic bags from your life.

Lizzie Lou Shoes in Children's Size
• Extra soft EVA cushioned insole
• Beautiful embroidered white fabric
• Embellished with genuine crystals
• Hand-made and embroidered in India
Pictured style isn't necessarily the winning prize.  Style will be based on supply.

O'Couture Ballet Flats

Romance your feet with our charming Newport Ballet Flat, with all the comfort and style you’d expect from a shoe that’s designed especially for today’s modern woman. Chic, eco-friendly flats feature soft Italian leather uppers, linings and soles with elastic back.

Each pair of flats comes with the magnetic interchangeable ornament shown in the photo, with square bead center and a triplet of oval beads on layers of elegant grosgrain ribbon. Simply interchange the magnetic ornaments (other styles available separately) to alter your look anytime you please, and keep your carbon footprint to a minimum without compromising style.

Parking Pal

The Parking Pal is an inexpensive, fun product to keep kids safe around vehicles.  With drivers of SUV's having an increasingly difficult time seeing young children around their vehicle, and children rarely paying attention to their surroundings, there is a real potential for injury to children in parking lots. The Parking Pal is magnetic and is placed on the side of your vehicle.  It was designed with bright colors, playful illustrations and a small hand print that children love to place their hand on.  A child will quickly learn that this is their safe spot when stepping out of the vehicle or upon returning to the vehicle.  It also helps teach children responsibility in parking lots and around moving vehicles. 


Friday, August 20, 2010

Inventor Showcasing: O'Couture Ballet Flats

I am so proud to have Sebnem Eler Acar, the inventor of the O'Couture Ballet Flats with Interchangeable Ornaments, as part of the Womentorz community!  Sebnem has been involved with Womentorz socially for some time and I had just been waiting until she was ready to launch her storefront.  Her amazing shoes and wonderful personality make a wonderful addition.  Here is my interview with Sebnem: 

Q. What made you decide to design your own line of shoes?

The idea for O’Couture came about from a personal need combined with a passion. As a shoe lover, I have always had a closet packed with pairs and pairs of shoes. Not only was I spending a fortune on shoes, but I was also feeling bad about all the resources that I single handedly seemed to be consuming all in the name of looking good. Basically, all I ever needed was “versatile” stylish shoes. That need and a passion for entrepreneurship fueled the desire to create O’Couture ballet flats with interchangeable ornaments. In the fall of 2009, I combined forces with Zehra Balkan Buyukuncu, my fellow fashionista with an MBA, and we traveled to Europe to handle the production arrangements.

 Q. Besides being an obviously beautiful shoe, what other unique characteristics does your line of shoes possess?

O’Couture’s signature line features fine leather flats with exclusive, limited-production handcrafted ornaments that customers can easily interchange from one occasion to the next. Customers simply select a shoe style and color, and then choose from several different ornament styles that attach easily to the shoes with sturdy magnetic clasps. In fact, our video below tells the story of O’Couture so well:

 Not only are they great for women on a budget, but they’re also easy on the environment, because women can do much more with less — reducing their carbon footprint, as it were (pun intended), without compromising style. With one pair of shoes and a boxful of ornaments, women can express their own unique style every time they step out the door, and that’s just the way we like it. Hence our motto: one pair, endless style.

Also, since we are as a company who takes environmental protection seriously, all the shoes are manufactured in a manufacturing facility that followed Europe’s strict fair employment and environmental protection standards.

We pride ourselves in being a company by women for women.  We take women entrepreneurship so seriously that we provide opportunities for women: Our ornaments are handcrafted by women who work from the comfort of their homes so they can earn an income while still caring for their families.

Q. Can readers primarily find your shoes online?

Currently, the ballet flats and the interchangeable ornaments are available online at www.ocouture.us
We are actively looking for retail partners who are willing to carry our product. At the moment, we are looking into engaging with independent local boutiques and small to medium size fashion retailer chains.

Q. What was your experience like in the actual design and manufacturing of your product?

We are a company founded by two women who did not let the fact that they were industry outsiders and had no prior footwear industry experience to stop them from following their dream. We were passionate and ambitious enough to undertake this enormous entrepreneurial journey.

It was important for us to stick to our company’s core social responsibly values as I mentioned above.  Recently, Turkey has become a major manufacturer of consumer products with its state of the art facilities that comply with European regulations for fair employment and environmental protection. Being from Turkey, Zehra and I leveraged our network back in Turkey.

As soon as we matured the concept and prepared our business plan, we travelled to Turkey in December 2009. We had to spend 4 months in Turkey managing and learning design and shoe manufacturing processes. During that period, speaking the local language was a huge plus. We also found out that we needed to keep a close eye on the manufacturing process since, even if we spoke the language, what you tell the manufacturer is not always what they understand. Also, it is paramount to have an inspection procedure in place at the manufacturing location before the goods are shipped to you. We are lucky to be working with an honest manufacturer who stood by their production guarantee promise. Therefore, our yield was really high.
We also spent a huge amount of time understanding US laws and regulations regarding footwear manufacturing and importing procedures. What we found out was that as long as you do your research and learn all the aspects of the business that you are getting into, there hardly are any surprises.

We have successfully imported out first batch of shoes and ornaments in late June 2010 and have launched the line in July 2010.

Q. How do you balance running a business and starting a new family?

Yes, I am expecting my first child with my husband Cenk. Having started my own company and having the opportunity to work from my home office has been a true blessing.  I have been able to define my schedule and working hours around the unpredictable pregnancy symptoms and I have been thankful for that. Sure, there are cons to managing your own business. However, I strongly believe that the benefits outweigh the cons.

On the other hand Zehra also thinks that having a flexible schedule really helps her family life.  She travels to find better quality materials whenever it fits her schedule.  Her home office is great for her since she can work in a quiet environment while she is close to her husband and her dog whom she adores.  Many people may find it hard to work in their homes, it is not the case for Zehra.  She used to be a professional athlete and the advantage of this background is having great discipline and hard working mindset.

Q. What fact would readers find interesting about you?

Zehra and I have no prior footwear industry experience. I am an Electronics Engineer with a Master of Science degree and worked in technology for 10 years until September of 2009, when I decided to start my own company. My business partner Zehra holds an MBA degree and she used to be an Olympic Swimmer for the Turkish National team.

Zehra and I are both avid cyclists. We matured the product concept and the business during our long cycling trips on the Pacific Coast Highway along the beautiful Pacific Coast.

Zehra and I were both born and raised in Turkey. We met here in the US and upon realizing we both share a passion for entrepreneurship and shoes, we decided to start our own company.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Inventor Showcasing: Pouch Pals

Pouch Pals makes a wonderful addition to the Womentorz community and is your essential green product for the school year.  Here is a wonderful interview with the creator, Allison Cohen, who is an inspiration in being green:

Q. How and why did you come up with the idea of Pouch Pals? 

I had been using disposable plastic bags to pack snacks and lunches for my kids, but I hated using those and wasting them.  I didn’t think it was safe to reuse them.

And, I was really only thinking of my family's next green step when I came up with Pouch Pals. I had no idea I'd be starting a green business at that point. 

I'm a transactional lawyer by trade but this is a great creative outlet that makes me feel like I'm doing some good for the world.

I wanted to create something that would work — a nondisposable bag or pouch, something I could use for a long time.

I tried making my own bags out of different materials until I found the combination that worked and that I felt was food safe for short-term food storage.

Q. How is Pouch Pals green and what differentiates other reusable products?

Pouch Pals are green because use of them essentially eliminates the use of disposable plastic sandwich and snack baggies that fill our land fills and pollute our oceans. 

Pouch Pals are made of high quality 100 percent cotton material exterior and lined with a water-resistant nylon material that’s free of PVC, BPA and phthalate. A Velcro closure keeps the enclosed food secure.

Pouch Pals are different from other reusable products in that they are very easy to clean and dry quickly, which answers an important question that everyone asks off the bat.  Pouch Pals can be turned inside out, then washed by hand or tossed into the washer and dryer.

In addition, they take up very little space unlike tupperware or other containers that are reusable.  I’ve used them with all sorts of sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, cheese, etc.

You can even get small ice packs and slide it inside and then, add yogurt and string cheese which will stay cold until lunch.

Q. Beyond being green for the wallet, on average how much green would a family save per year by using your product?

A family of four can prevent 3,120 sandwich bags from entering landfills in one year by replacing them with Pouch Pals. There’s a cost savings as well: In two years, a family can spend $300 for plastic snack and sandwich bags, but a $100 investment in Pouch Pals will cover the family for at least that long.  In 5 years a family of 4 has prevent almost 16,000 bags from entering landfills and saved approximately $600.00.

Q. What was your experience like in the actual design and manufacturing of your product?

It was extraordinarily educational. Trial and error, home runs and set backs.  I've learned so much and look forward to continuing to learn as Pouch Pals continues to grow.

Q. How do you balance running a business, working part time and the daily responsibilities of having a family?

Frankly, I don't sleep as much as I should.  I think Pouch Pals is a worthwhile endeavor, worthy enough to take up my evening hours after the kids are in bed.  This is my small contribution to mother earth and hopefully, others will follow suit by buying Pouch Pals in an effort to reduce the impact of disposed of plastic on our planet.  I also feel like this effort, in the long run, will teach my kids to "go for it" when they truly believe in something.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The 23nd annual Auction of Washington Wines Benefitting Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Washington Wine Education Foundation

 The Auction of Washington Wines holds a dear place in my heart.  For nearly a decade I have been providing design services to this amazing organization that does so much for the Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Washington Wine Education Foundation. If you're in the Seattle area, or would like to support an organization where your donation is guaranteed to go to a worthy cause then please read the information below.  

 The 23nd annual Auction of Washington Wines,
Thursday, August 19 through Saturday, August 21, 2010.
The must attend Washington wine weekend of the summer will be filled with award-winning wines, gourmet food, entertainment and incredible auction lots - all to benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital and the

Barrel Auction & Picnic with the Winemakers,
Thursday, August 19 - 4:00 p.m. until dusk
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, WA

 Enjoy Washington wines and meet the winemakers!  Feast on the perfect summer picnic fare prepared by the talented chefs from Tulalip Resort Casino. Bid on limited release wines from top Washington wineries on the Barrel Auction.Win fabulous wines and more on the silent auction.

Tickets are $150 per person.
Winemaker Dinners, Friday, August 20
6:30 p.m. - Various locations

Winemaker dinners take place on Friday, August 20. Patrons are invited into some of Seattle’s finest estates and wineries to dine with Washington winemakers and experience a gourmet meal prepared by a notable guest chef.

Tickets are $250 per person.  For a full list of dinners, click here.

"Covey Run" 10K and 5K Run/Walk and KIDS DASH, Saturday, August 21 - 8:00 a.m. 
Start and Finish at Red Hook Brewery,
Woodinville, WA
The popular Covey Run 10K race and 5K Run/Walk winds through the streets of Woodinville wine country. All races are open to all ages. Participants are encouraged to form teams now to raise pledge money for Seattle Children's Hospital.  Register online at http:www.runforchildrens.org

2010 - A Wine Odyssey - Gala Auction,
Saturday, August 21 - 4:30 p.m.
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, WA

The Black-tie Gala Auction will be held on the grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle.  Dynamic auctioneer, David Reynolds, will host the bidding on a great line-up of live auction lots. The menu will be prepared by world-renowned chefs and accompanied by an impressive selection of Washington wines. Brian Nova Orchestra will entertain from center stage and provide the perfect accompaniment for post auction dancing in the festive tent.

For full event information go to:
To find out how to become a sponsor, or make a donation for
this year’s events, please visit our Opportunities Page!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Oppose Efforts to Impose New Tax Burdens on the Internet

I received a very informative email from Linda Lewis with The Breast Chek Kit to share with all of the Womentorz members.  It looks like online retailers are going to have an even tougher time making a profit.

On July 1, a bill was introduced in the United States House of Representatives that would impose complex sales tax collecting requirements on internet retailers and entrepreneurs, including our eBay sellers. If passed, HR 5660, the so-called, "Main Street Fairness Act," would require small online retailers to comply with varying and regularly changing sales tax rules and rates for thousands of tax jurisdictions, and to collect and remit sales taxes from each customer. This new sales tax scheme would be extremely burdensome and costly to small online retailers like you who have set up shop on the internet. A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate as well. eBay is working very hard to stop this bill from becoming law, but we need your help.

Please join our effort to stop the passage of this anti-small business bill. In three minutes or less, you can sign this petition urging your lawmakers to protect small, online retailers by opposing new tax burdens.  Click here to sign the petition.